SAT Program Results for the Class of 2023 Show Continued Growth in SAT Participation
1.9 Million Students in the Class of 2023 Took the SAT at Least Once, Up from 1.7 Million in the Class of 2022; SAT School Day Has Record Participation
The 2023 SAT Suite of Assessments Annual Report released today shows that more than 1.9 million students in the high school class of 2023 took the SAT® at least once, up from 1.7 million in 2022. A bigger share of test takers than ever—67%—took the SAT through SAT School Day. In a largely test-optional world, students still want the choice to send their scores. In fact, recent results from a nationally representative survey show that more than 80% of students from the class of 2022 want test scores to be part of college applications, either required or optional.
SAT School Day
Nearly 1.3 million students in the class of 2023 took the SAT through the SAT School Day program, which provides schools, districts, and states a way to offer the SAT to juniors and seniors in school, on a weekday, often at no cost to students. Independent research shows that universal school-day testing leads to higher college-going rates for low-income and underrepresented students. In the class of 2023, 67% of SAT takers took the SAT on a school day, the highest percentage to date, compared to 63% of the class of 2022, and 62% of the class of 2021. SAT School Day participation has increased more than 17% over the past year, up from roughly 1.1 million in the class of 2022.
“The continued growth of the SAT post-pandemic shows that students value and take the SAT to show what they’ve learned, to connect with scholarships and colleges, and to open doors to their post-high-school futures,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, senior vice president, College Readiness Assessments at College Board. “The SAT continues to be a valuable tool for students, educators, and higher education.”
Mean SAT Scores
The average SAT total score declined for the class of 2023—down to 1028 compared to 1050 for the class of 2022. In the class of 2023, 40% of SAT takers met or exceeded both the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math college readiness benchmarks, which indicate a high likelihood for success in credit-bearing college coursework.
Approximately 3.7 million students participated in the PSAT/NMSQT® or PSATTM 10 in the 2022-23 school year, remaining consistent with participation during the 2021-22 school year.
The PSAT/NMSQT is the only qualifying test for the National Merit® Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. PSAT-related assessments also provide students with benefits like connection to free practice resources; more than $350 million in scholarship opportunities; and information about their potential to succeed in Advanced Placement® courses.
New Research on the Value of the SAT.
Since the pandemic, most colleges have introduced more flexibility and choice into the admissions process through test-optional policies. In the wake of this shift, millions of students continue to take the SAT each year and more than 80% say they want the choice to send their scores. Recent research from the Admissions Research Consortium (ARC), a multiyear, collaborative research initiative with 80 participating colleges and associations, shows that students from all backgrounds are making logical choices when deciding whether to send their scores, sending scores when it will strengthen their application and withholding scores when it won’t.
The research also shows the continued predictive power of SAT scores above and beyond what grades can show. Among fall 2021 first-year college enrollees with the same high school grades, students with higher SAT scores–regardless of their decision to disclose or withhold their test scores–had higher average first-year grades, credit accumulation, and retention rates. Colleges are still considering scores to gain additional insight into student achievement beyond what grades and other application components can show, to identify ways to support students once they're on campus, and to support students’ retention and credit progress. The ARC findings show that students with the lowest retention rates are much less likely to have disclosed their scores, reducing institutions’ visibility into retention risk when they enroll. That’s why many institutions have started collecting scores outside the high-stakes admissions process, as a requirement upon enrollment. This allows institutions to understand the test score within the student’s broader academic portfolio, better advise on course selection and course placement, and offer additional supports like summer bridge programs, peer tutoring, and mentor/mentee advising.
Additional external findings from the recent Opportunity Insights report support the added value of using the SAT for predicting success in college and beyond. Unlike other factors in the admissions process like legacy status, nonacademic ratings, and athletic recruitment, SAT scores are highly predictive of post-college success.